It was inevitable. Once Martin Gerber posted a shutout in the first pre-season game, we have ourselves a mini goaltending controversy in the capital city. Any rational person would suggest that it's just one game and we're crazy to be even suggesting it but that's what the main beat writers are doing in the Sun and the Citizen. Wayne Scanlan weighs in here, as does Bruce Garrioch here.
There are a lot of people in this region who really want to see Ray Emery fail. You can see it wherever fans congregate, either on the forums or in the bars. He has become a polarizing presence in town after a few minor incidents off the ice. The truth is that some people just aren't comfortable with an athlete who doesn't conform to the stereotypical low key hockey player that a lot of us have gotten used to. Why this is, I have no idea. People in this town should be on their knees thanking their deities that we have someone as interesting and brash as Rayzor (not to mention great on the ice as well).
We should also not forget how badly Martin Gerber fell last season and the fact that he has only played as a number one goalie for one season. One! I for one am not getting on the Gerber bandwagon just yet.
Ken Warren does a piece on Patrick Eaves where John Paddock says that Eaves was the best player on the ice Tuesday night against the Flyers. He'll get an audition on the top line with Heatley and Spezza tonight against the Capitals. At least Warren got Eaves name right after an article a couple of days ago that referred to Patrick as "Mike Eaves". Mike is Patrick's old man and played in the NHL for the Minnesota North Stars and the Calgary Flames.
Matt Carkner broke his hand in a scrap on Tuesday which effectively ends his training camp here in Ottawa. He'll go down to Bingo and hope for a call-up later in the season.
Tonight's game against the Caps also allows us a chance to catch Cody Bass, who will be playing on the fourth line with Josh Hennessy and Brian McGrattan. With all the talk about Nick Foligno, I was more looking forward to seeing what Bass can do. Not long ago, Bass was being favourably compared to Mike Fisher, much like Foligno is now. Over at Hockeys Future, they have this to say about him:
"He’s not a sharp shooter and you really have to watch him to appreciate him. No NHL coach will be upset that you drafted Cody Bass; he can skate, he can fight, he’s a great faceoff man, he can kill penalties and even though he might only score ten goals a year, they might be game winners. He’s a character kid but if you’re looking for offensive upside, he’s not your guy."
Bass had an up and down season last year in the OHL with both Mississauga and Saginaw due to some injuries but also played 5 games with Bingo where he picked up 2 assists. He could be a real dark horse to make this team. If Hennessy doesn't get his act together, then Bass could fly by him on the depth chart. It also looks as though Paddock is still unconvinced about Foligno which also improves Bass's chances.
I like a good scrap as much as the next guy but I have to cringe when I see that Andrew Archer of the Habs has a fractured orbital bone and the most gruesome black eye since Andreas Dackell was almost killed by Eric Lindros, due to a scrap with undisputed heavyweight champion Georges Laraque of the Penguins.
Some are saying that the new tighter jerseys are responsible for Cam Janssen blowing out his shoulder because his sweater was easily ripped in a scrap with the Flyer's Jesse Boulerice. Arron Asham of the Devils even claims that the new sweaters are designed to kill of fighting completely.
Also: Got to love that Simon Gamache kid. This guy has scored a ton of points in every league but still hasn't gotten a solid chance in the NHL. Now with the Leafs, he absolutely pegged the Coyotes Daniel Carcillo with a vicious open ice illegal hit at the blueline last night in Winnipeg. Sure it was illegal, but if scoring doesn't get you a job then you have to make them notice you some other way. I'm really pulling for this guy to make it.